Health care workers try to balance their fatherly duties between COVID duties

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The thought of being away from your kids is difficult, but for front line male doctors, this has become a reality. From warm hugs to bedtime stories, we all have cherished these moments at some point in our lives. The fatherly duties have taken a backseat in the wake of duties they took up as medical professionals. Male health care workers are trying to cope with the fact of being physically distant from their kids while trying to balance their fatherly duties.

Dr Shuchin Bajaj of internal medicine department at a South- Delhi hospital, who has been craving the warm greetings and hugs from his kids, says, “I have a 16-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. They both understand the situation but still there is always a constant fear that runs in my mind that what if I am transmitting the virus to my kids. I have forgotten when was the last time we watched a movie or show on TV together. Life has become an emergency drill. It’s highly fulfilling to serve your nation at this time of need. I haven’t been able to attend the digital parents meet from last three-four months because they usually happen during my operating hours. But during this time also, I am trying to give my best to my kids. I try to utilize the time with my family as I know I can just spend limited time with them. It is very hard to express those feelings as a father, who can’t hug his children or spend some time with them. They are sacrificing a lot during this time, so whatever time I get at home, I try to just spend it with my kids now.”

A doctor of Indian Council of Medical Research taking blood samples.

A doctor of Indian Council of Medical Research taking blood samples. ( Photo:Satish Bate/HT )

Being away from kids is very difficult but at the same time, it is a necessity for these doctors. Dr Akhilesh Yadav, orthopaedic surgeon, says that his sons have adapted with this lifestyle of him going out for COVID duty.

“As a father, at least the last three to four months have been very difficult with restricted ‘family time’. I have two sons, one is seven years old and the other is 12-years-old. Recently, both of them have gotten into the habit of getting up early because of me and we try to have breakfast together before I leave for work. Though I take all the precautions while I step out but still there is a fear in the mind. Before the pandemic, the warm greetings and hugs that I used to get when I returned from the hospital are missing now. It was tough during the initial lockdown to make them understand the importance of social distancing, self hygiene and the time that I need to provide to the affected and those in need, but gradually, he has understood this very well,” he says.

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And for Dr Saurabh Nanda, an anesthesiologist, it is all about doing that one activity with his kids everyday.

“As healthcare workers, we are very much exposed to the virus everyday. Everytime, we head out of the house, there is a risk. All the time, there is fear in my mind that I might carry something back from the hospital. I have a separate room in my house which has an exit, so I mostly operate from that room only. We all have one specific thing, which is like a routine with our kids and for me, it is teaching my three-year-old daughter. I try to do that through a video call from my room or teach her from a very safe distance. It is very tough psychologically also because I am unable to hug my kids or have a quality time with them but if we do not go out to serve then who will?” he says.

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